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Artisan growers usually grow larger, more unusual varieties as these are hugely popular with customers. The varieties available through the supermarkets and wholesalers tend to be short stemmed with small heads and are quite differnt in character from outdoor grown specials which are grounded in the season and their surroundings. As Michael Hardy of Ravenshill Farm says:

“One is just an object, albeit a pretty one, the other tethers us to the natural world.”

When choosing which varieties to grow at Cotswold Posy Patch, we tend to focus on the large Darwin hybrids which have huge goblet shaped heads, and the later flowering large cottage garden varieties. We also love parrot tulips which havelarge irregular, twisting petals, and double tulips which do a great impression of that classic favourite wedding flower, the peony.

We treat our tulips as annuals, planting the bulbs in late autumn or early winter and pulling the whole plant out of the ground in spring, bulb and all, in order to get as long a stem length as possible. April and May are the peak months for outdoor tulips though the unpredictablility of spring weather can delay or accelerate their glorious moment in the spotlight.

There are so many amazing tulip varieties that it’s impossible to include all of our favourites, so here are our top 5.

Sweet impression tulips make great cut spring flowers and open up huge soft pink goblet shaped blooms to reveal dramatic markings within. Photo: Cotswold Posy Patch.

Sweet Impression - probably our favourite! Amazingly strong and reliable, it starts with green striped buds and pink striped leaves before opening up as a huge soft pink bloom.

A collection of cut tulips massed together reveal the detail in the petals of this variety called Apricot Parrot. Bright apricot crinkled petals fade slowly to white, with flashes of green veining for added drama. Photo: Cotswold Posy Patch.

Apricot Parrot starts off as a subtle apricot but opens to reveal a fiery mix of tropical colours with flashes of green.

A simple bunch of blush apricot tulips from artisan flower grower Cotswold Posy Patch.

Apricot Pride. Very popular with florists due to its stunning large flowers and soft blush peach colour.

A single white bloom of the stunning parrot tulip 'Madonna' balances between the fingertips of passionate flower grower Liz Fallon. Photo: Cotswold Posy Patch

Madonna - a wonderful white and green parrot tulip which is particularly stunning in wedding flower arrangements.

A cappucino toned wedding bouquet of voluptous coffee coloured Belle Epoque tulips, mixed with pale lemon wallflowers and smaller tulips. Photo: Cotswold Posy Patch.

Double tulip La Belle Epoque looks stunning in this wedding bouquet with wallflower 'Sunset Apricot', Eschscholzia californica 'Alba' and tulip 'Alabaster'.

FAQs about Tulips

We answer your most common questions about this gorgeous spring flower.

  • Are there different types of tulips?

    There are a huge variety of tulip types, some referred to as 'early' (flowering in March and often shorter stemmed) and some referred to as 'late' (flowering in May). Visit a specialist bulb selling site to get an idea of the full range. Singles have just one set of petals and goblet shaped flowers while doubles are many layered and ruffled like peonies. There are also parrot types with large, intricate flower heads etched with ridges and ruffles, viridiflora tulips streaked with green, fringed tulips bearing frilly edges to their single flowers and lily flowered tulips with gracefully reflexed pointed petals and curved, waisted cups.
  • What colours do tulips come in?

    Pretty much every colour in the rainbow except blue.
  • When are tulips available as cut flowers in the UK?

    Commercially grown indoors, they're usually available from late November through to April. Outdoor grown by artisan flower growers, they're a spring crop usually from early April to the end of May - but the season can shift according to the weather.
  • Will tulips flower just once or year after year?

    Most tulip bulbs will give you a single stem with a flower. If you leave the foliage to die back naturally after flowering, it will feed the bulb which will go on to flower again for a further 2 or 3 years, though flowers may get smaller.
  • When's the best time to plant tulip bulbs?

    After the first frosts in late autumn or early winter. Tulips need a period of very cold weather to encourage them to grow longer stems.

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